Fire TV is an amazing device, it is a media streamer that makes your tv stream and surf over the internet, watch videos using different applications like Youtube, Hulu, and Netflix. You can also play games and get all kinds of information using Alexa, a Siri like voice assistant. But it comes with its disadvantages because Amazon has a strong interest in maintaining their own customer base, the home screen is tied to content controlled by Amazon. In this guide; we will change the home screen which does not require rooting (and losing your warranty).
The default interface on the Fire TV doesn’t allow you to change the home screen and doesn’t allow you to download external apps from other sources other than those that come directly from the Amazon only. If you do install them, then the only way to access them is from Settings which can become inconvenient and slow. Previous solutions required rooting; which is not recommended since it voids the warranty.
This is where Fire Starter comes in handy; what it does is that it runs in parallel with the default launcher, and overrides the process to show itself instead of the default launcher. The default launcher will flash for a second, then disappear. With Fire Starter, you can configure your start-up, home button for single-click, home button for a double-click. For example, You can start Youtube on a home button single click and start Firestarter on the home button (double click), or whichever applications you decide on.
Lists all user-installed apps including sideloaded applications. Apps can easily be sorted by click-drag-and-drop (long-click to start drag-and-drop). Apps can be hidden from the app drawer (see settings). Change sleep time; import/export settings. Show system and device information like Android-Version, Build-Version, Hostname, Wi-Fi- / WLAN Name (SSID), IP Address and Uptime.
Knowing the benefits now; here’s how to install it.
Method 1: Short and Quick
This one is shorter and does not require anything but a Fire TV with ES file explorer (which if you don’t have) can be downloaded from Amazon Store.
First, from your fire TV Home screen, select Settings
Go to System -> Developer options, Enable both ADB Debugging and the Apps from Unknown Sources options
Once done, open your ES explorer application, in the left-hand menu under Favorite there will be an “ADD” button to add a new favorite.
Click on that and in the Path text box write this https://qr.net/firetv with no quotes, and set the Name to Fire
Open the favorite you just created to download the Firestarter zip file, once downloaded, open the .zip file and select the Firestarter APK file for installation. Press install and wait for it to finish, once it is installed. Go to System -> Settings -> Applications -> Manage installed applications and launch the FireStarter Application.
Method 2: FireStarter Via PC/Laptop
This method is for those who wish to setup FireStarter via a PC/Laptop. Make sure to install the Android Debugging Bridge before continuing. After installing, first Go to Settings -> System -> Developer options, Enable both ADB Debugging and the Apps from Unknown Sources options. Then press return to go back the System menu, scroll up and choose About option, then choose Network and take note of the IP Address
Open the ADB fire application choose Setup.
Enter the Fire TV IP address (noted earlier), Enter name in the description text, the name could be anything you want it does not matter, leave the other fields as in the default and click SAVE when you’re done.
Next, we make a connection to our Amazon Fire TV. Before doing so you must make sure that AdbFire states ADB running at the bottom. Click Connect.
The next step is to actually push Firestarter to the Amazon Fire TV. This is done by clicking the Install APK button, there will be a file dialog asking you where is the APK, browse to the APK you downloaded earlier and chose it, a confirmation dialog will follow, just click YES. Once completed, a message saying Installed will appear. Now close the application and turn to your Fire tv, Go to System -> Settings -> Applications -> Manage installed applications and launch the FireStarter from there.